(AGI) Cape Town, 8 Aug - South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), emerged bruised and wounded after support for the party fell below 60% for the first time since 1994 following the conclusion of the country's 2016 municipal elections over the weekend. With 53.9% of the national vote, compared to a high of 64.8% in the 2006 municipal elections, the party only managed to secure outright majority wins in Buffalo City (in the Eastern Cape province), Mangaung (in the Free State province) and eThekwini (in the KwaZulu-Natal province). The once-mighty freedom party of Nelson Mandela lost control in the capital city Pretoria and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, and failed to get over the 50% mark in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni in the Gauteng province. In Johannesburg, where the last of this year's election results were tallied and announced on Saturday night, the ANC got 44.55% of the vote and opposition parties the Democratic Alliance (DA) 33.37% and Economic Freedom Front 11.09%. The failure of any single party to break the 50% mark meant coalitions would be the order of the day for the next five years. The EFF said it would not enter into coalitions with the ANC, the party its founding members rejected in 2013. The United Democratic Movement said it was prepared to enter into partnerships with the DA, which could see the party getting an outright majority in Nelson Mandela Bay. The ANC's Gauteng chairperson, Paul Mashatile, said the ANC had already been approached by other parties, and had approached others to negotiate possible coalitions. South African President Jacob Zuma struck a conciliatory tone and said the 2016 local government elections showed the world that democracy was thriving in South Africa. He congratulated all the parties, including those who gained new municipalities. South Africans were the real victors, and their will prevailed, he said. "You have shown the world that South Africa is a thriving democracy where differences of political opinion and diverse political preferences are allowed to flourish," he said in a speech at the results centre in Pretoria. However, analysts have warned that once the ANC slip below the 60% mark of the national vote, it was in danger of losing a future election - a reference to the general elections coming up in 2019. The ANC now faces some hard decisions about its president and corruption and needs to take some hard decisions.(AGI) .